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Is Driverless Transport as a Service the future?

Why do we all still want to own our own car?
Is it the independence it gives or is it the status it affords us?
Is it the lack of an alternative?

Three new factors might now announce the end of this era!
– new software developed by taxi and car-share companies like Uber and Lyft, that facilitates the adoption of new systems
– entry of electric vehicles (EVs), that live much longer than cars with an internal combustion engine (ICEs)
– new opportunities offered by autonomous vehicles, that will become standard

These factors can now be combined to form the fundamentally new product, Transport as a Service (TaaS)
TaaS started with ride-hailing, offered by companies like Uber and Lyft

The next stage of TaaS (same service, but without a driver) will start in high-density cities. There, the availability of private transport without having to bother about parking space will make sense

The case for TaaS is rooted in simple economics, particularly in densely populated areas
– shared cars are used 40% of the time, 10 times higher than individually owned vehicles
– TaaS vehicles will drive 500,000 miles over their lifetimes — 2.5 times more than individually owned vehicles
– TaaS vehicles significantly reduce other operating costs, because EVs are intrinsically more reliable and efficient than ICEs.

Additional factors potentially driving TaaS prices lower:
– other revenue sources like advertising
– provision of back-up support to grid companies during peak demand for electricity
– second life of batteries, for instance for grid storage
– efficiency gains in EV design and manufacture
– cheaper manufacture, more miles per EV
– reduced maintenance costs, for instance through modularization of assembly and replacement parts
– vehicle differentiation on the basis of a standard hardware platform
– cost savings relating to safety factors

Effects will be massive and far-reaching;
– there will be less cars and lower demand for new ones. The value will be in vehicle operating systems, computing platforms and the TaaS platforms
– fall in oil demand will be accelerated
– if we assume the electricity infrastructure is supplied by solar and wind, we may see a largely carbon-free road transportation system by 2030
– TaaS will dramatically lower transportation costs and create a vast consumer surplus
– it will contribute to cleaner, safer and more walkable communities.
– car sharing may emerge as a dominant pattern. Transport as a Service may develop as a new form of public transport.
– if vehicle behaviour on highways as controlled electronically (train formation), we need less roads
– system changes: if there are less accidents, safety requirements in the car can be reduced

– electric car batteries on the floor, hence better roadholding and safety
– no transmission and cooling required
– less maintenance, and remote software updates

Convinced? Are you ready to give up your car?

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